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  • Writer's pictureShirley

Safety is paramount at recycling centres

There are more than 300 reported fires at UK Waste Sites every year.

As well as representing an obvious danger to human life, fire poses a major environmental hazard and can result in significant costs to the business through property damage.  Most waste sites are “well run” and awareness of fire risks is increasing. However, the combustibility of the materials destined for recycling centres – paper, plastic, wood, cardboard and so on – means it is impossible for waste businesses to take too many precautions.

Capital expenditure and investment in fire protection is an important consideration for all recycling facilities, but expensive equipment is not enough on its own.  Effective site management and pragmatic protocols radically reduce the likelihood of fire risk, however, sites that create unacceptable risk, can expect enforcement action, including prosecution from the Environment Agency.

The general public can help play their part in improving fire safety at waste and recycling sites. Hot or hazardous materials in kerbside recycling cause nearly one third (31%) of all fires in waste and recycling facilities, chief culprits include hot ashes, lithium batteries, gas cylinders, flammable liquids and aerosols. Lithium batteries are a particular concern, which is only going to get worse as these batteries are appearing in all sorts of electrical products.

At SWM Health, Safety and protection of the Environment remain at the top of our agenda.  Our mantra is: ‘Arrive safe, work safe, home safe’

Work with us and other waste and recycling companies to do the right thing and keep hazardous waste out of your recycling or general waste, if you would like advice or guidance on the safe and appropriate disposal of hazardous waste please get in touch.


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